Matthaeus Pipelare

Biography

Born: 1450   Died: 1515   Country: Netherlands  
Matthaeus Pipelare was a Renaissance-era composer of vocal music in both the sacred and secular realms. He wrote no instrumental works, though he likely played several musical instruments. He is highly regarded by musicologists because of his versatile style: Pipelare was adept at writing both polyphonic and homophonic works and had a knowing grasp of complex structures. He also divulged a strong talent for melody and must be regarded as among Read more the finest composers of his day even if, in the end, he ranks a rung or so below Josquin Desprez (1440 - 1521) and Johannes Ockeghem (1450 - 1495).

Like many Renaissance-era artists, Pipelare led a life about which few details are known, including even his vital dates and place of birth and death. He was born in the Netherlands sometime around 1450. It is likely his was a family of affluent means, owing to his musical education, which probably first came when he served as a choirboy in a cathedral. Later instruction from an organist or chorus master undoubtedly followed. By the 1480s, Pipelare was involved in musical activity in Antwerp, probably serving in different capacities in the chorus at various churches. It is likely he became a chorus master there by the 1490s, since his first and only historically documented post came in 1498 when he accepted an appointment in 's-Hertogenbosch from the Confraternity of Our Lady as master of the choristers. This position may well have served as a creative stimulus for the composer -- or required of him to produce certain compositions -- since at least two of his finest works seem to have been composed in the two-year period he held the post. The Missa Johannes Christe care/Ecce puer meus and the Credo de Sancto Johanne Evangelista almost certainly date to the period 1498 - 1500. Pipelare's duties as master of the choristers included teaching, as well as conducting the choir and managing other details of performance for religious services.

For centuries, several of his masses and motets were used for Roman Catholic services, but his small body of secular music also left a mark. The second of the two French chansons entitled Fors Seulement apparently became quite popular in the 1500s, since many copies of it circulated throughout the Netherlands and beyond its borders. Pipelare also wrote chansons in Flemish. Read less

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